[GARGONZA:9037] sul trapianto d'organo
Francesco Bollorino  Martedi`, 27 Giugno 2000

Title: sul trapianto d'organo
credo possa risultare interessante per i membri della lista questa sillige he ho trovato sul sito dell'Universita' di Tale che riassume la posizione di tutte le maggiori Fedi riguardo al tema del Trapianto organi. Visto che tra poco ci sara' una legge credo il testo meriti una lettura anche nella logica multietnica della nostra compagine sociale.

This is copied from the "UNOS Donation and Transplantation Medical School Curriculum", available from UNOS.  This chapter on religious aspects was written by Fr. Robert Smith, SUNY Stony Brook.  There is an accompanying guide that they'll send you gratis, "Medical School Curriculum Advocacy Guide", with suggestions for anyone interested in attempting to interest medical school faculty in using it.  It is the best source available for a wide range of facts related to organ donation and transplantation.

Mike Holloway

Specific Traditions

Health-care professionals should work with local religious
communities and clergy in order to create a better understanding of
donation and transplantation and their relation to religious ideals.
Following is a summary of several major religious and ethnic
traditions' basic beliefs associated with organ donation and


Acceptable if for the welfare
of transplant recipient.

Reluctant if the transplant out-
come is known to be questionable.

The Amish will consent to transplantation if they know that it is for the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They would be reluctant to donate their organs if the transplant outcome was known to be questionable. John Hostetler, world renowned authority on Amish religion and professor of anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia,says in his book Amish Society, "The Amish believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals."

However, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them
from using modern medical services, including surgery,hospitalization,
dental work, anesthesia, blood transfusions, or immunization.


Acceptable, if prescribed
by medical authorities.

Bahaists are permitted to donate
their bodies for medical research
and for restorative purposes.



Individual decision.

Baptists may belong to any of several autonomous religious confer-
ences including American Baptist, Southern Baptist, Progressive Baptist,National Baptist, and Seventh Day Baptist. The conferences provide guidance on issues, but do not dictate policy to member
congregations. Some conferences, such as the Southern Baptist, have
adopted resolutions regarding organ donation and transplantation.
Its 1988 resolution reads in part:
Whereas, complete resurrection of the body does not depend on bodily wholeness at death and
Whereas, the values of a godless society promote seltesufficiency
to such a degree that people are indifferent to the needs of others,
as seen in resistance to organ donation and
Whereas, organ donation for research or transplantation is a matter
of personal conscience . . .

Be it further RESOLVED, that we encourage voluntarism regarding
organ donation in the spirit of stewardship, compassion for the
needs of others, and alleviating suffering and

Be it further RESOLVED, that we recognize the validity of living
wills and organ donor cards, along with the right of the next of kin
to make decisions regarding organ donation and

Be it finally RESOLVED, that nothing in the resolution be contrued
to condone euthanasia, infanticide, a portion, or harvesting of
fetal tissue for the procurement of organs.

Buddhist Church of America

Buddha's teaching on the middle path, i.e., the avoiding of
the extremes, may be applicable to these points. What is medicine
to one may be poison to another. Administering of drugs, depending
upon the nature of illness and the individual capacity is of utmost
importance. The attainment of enlightment is of prime importance.

This is a matter for individual choice.


The Buddhists believe that organ donation is a matter of individual
conscience. There is no written resolution on the issue however, The Rev. Gyomay Masao, president and founder of the Buddhist Temple of Chicago and a practicing minister, says, "We honor those people who donate their bodies and organs to the advancement of medical science and to save lives."

Christian Science

Individual decision. 

Individual decision.

The Church of Christ, Scientist takes no specific position on transplants ororgan donation as distinct from other medical or surgical procedures.According to The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts,Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual rather than medical means for healing. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire, including an organ transplant. The question of organ donation is the individual decision of church members.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Individual decision.

Individual decision.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) made the following policy statement on June 3, 1974: "The question of whether one should will bodily organs to be used as transplants or for research after death must be answered from deep within the conscience of the individual involved. Those who seek counsel from the church on this subject are encouraged to review the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, to implore the Lord for inspiration and guidance, and then to take the course of action which would give them a feeling of peace and comfort."

Episcopal Church

Persons are encouraged to
undergo transplants only
when needed.

Persons are encouraged to donate.
The ultimate disposal of these
parts should be done reverently.
Use of parts (eye, kidney, etc.) for
use in living persons is without
theological objection. The consent
of the donor before death or
responsible relatives afterwards
would be needed.

A resolution passed at the 1982 General Convention of the Episcopal
Church stated that: "The Episcopal Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood, and tissue donation and encourages all Christians to become organ, blood, and tissue donors as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness."

Evangelical Covenant Church



A resolution passed at the Annual Meeting in 1982 encouraged the
members to "sign and carry Organ Donor Cards." The resolution also
recommended "that it become a policy with our pastors, teachers, and
counselors to encourage awareness of organ donation in all our congre-

Greek Orthodox Church


The church has no objection to the use of therapeutic agents,
vaccination, blood transfusions, and medical procedures that
contribute to the restoration of the health and well-being of the


A decision to donate one's body for medical experimentation or
research is not consistent with traditional Orthodox practice and
belief. However, organ donation for transplantation is acceptable.


A spokesperson for the church, the Rev. Dr. Milton Efthimiou,
Director of the Department of Church and Society for the Greek
Orthodox Church of North and South America, said: "We are not
against organ donation, provided the organs in question are used for
the purpose intended - transplantation - and not for research or


Transplantation:                      Donation:
Generally opposed.                    Generally opposed.

Gypsies are, on the whole, against organ donation. Although they have
no formal resolution, their opposition is associated with their beliefs about the afterlife. Gypsies believe that for one year after a person dies the soul retraces its steps. All of the body parts must be intact, because the soul maintains a physical shape. According to Matt Salo, a Smithsonian Institute research fellow who specializes in gypsy studies, "The gypsies, a set of ethnic groups with a common historical origin, do not have an exclusive religion, but share common folk beliefs which include the sanctity of the deceased person's body."


Transplantation:                Donation:
Acceptable.                           Acceptable.

Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs,
according to the Hindu Temple Society of North America. This act is an
individual decision.


Acceptable for both donors and
recipients. Anything (including
medication, treatment and pre-
vention) which is considered vital
to maintain normal health is not
only acceptable, but recommended.

Acceptable; no restrictions.

The Moslem Religious Council initially rejected organ donation by followers of Islam in 1983, but it has reversed its position, provided that donors consent in writing in advance. The organs of Moslem donors
must be transplanted immediately and not be stored in organ banks.
According to Dr. Abdel-Rahman Osman, Director of the Muslim Community Center in Maryland, "We have no policy against organ donation,
as long as it is done with respect for the deceased and for the benefit of
the recipient."

Jehovah's Witnesses

Transplantation:               Donation:
May be considered acceptable.         May be considered acceptable.

According to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the legal corporation for the religion, Jehovah's Witnesses do not encourage organ donation but believe it is a matter for individual conscience. Although the group is often assumed to ban transplantation because of its taboo against blood transfusion, it does not oppose donating or receiving organs. All organs and tissues, however, must be completely drained of blood before transplantation .




Judaism teaches that saving a human life takes precedence over maintaining the sanctity of the human body. A direct transplant is preferred, however. According to Moses Tendler, Ph.D., an Orthodox Rabbi who is Chairman of the Biology Department of Yeshiva University in New York City and Chairman of the Bioethics Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America, "If one is in the position to donate an organ to save another's life, it's obligatory to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The basic principle of Jewish ethics - the infinite worth of the human being - also includes donation of corneas, since eyesight restoration is considered a lifesaving operation." He adds, "It is given that the donor must be brain dead in accordance with the standards set by the Harvard
University criteria and the President's Commission on brain death."

Rabbi Moses Tendler also adds, "We do not feel that there is
sufficicient reason for organ donation from living persons because
of the improved results of transplantation of cadaveric organs that
has come about with the new immunosuppressants."  Organ donation is
actually a "moral obligation," he added.  It is the only "mitzvot"
or good deed, an individual can perform after death.  Rabbi Tendler
acknowledged that there is still some reluctance regarding organ
donating among Hasidic Jews due to concerns about "defilement of the

Conservative and Reformed Jews might accept brain death more easily
that will Orthodox and Hasidic Jews.

Protestant Denominations

Surgical transplants are considered a proper medical procedure.

Individual decision.

Because of the many different Protestant denominations, a
gerneralized statement about their attitudes toward organ and tissue
donation connot be made.  However, the denominations share a common
belief in the New Testament.  (Luke 6:38 "Give to others and God
will give to you.")  The Protestant faith respects individual
conscience and a person's right to make decisions regarding his or
her own body.  In addition, most denominations do not believe that
resurrection involves making the physical body whole again.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was the first denomination to
encourage donation; the denomination passed a resolution (1981) and
sponsored the largest distribution of donor cards ever, through an
issue of Lutheran Witness magazine.  The Rev. James W. Rassbach of
the Board of Communication Services, Missouri Sunod says, "We accept
and bilieve that our Lord Christ cam to give life and came to give
it in abundance.  Organ donation enables more abundant life,
alleviates pain and suffering and is an expression of love in times
of tragedy."

The United Methodist Church also recognizes a need for "official
direction from the church."

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Acceptable; no restrictions.  An individual decision.

Acceptable; no restrictions.  An individual decision.

Roman Catholic Church



Catholics view organ donation as an act of charity, fraternal love,
and self sacrifice. Transplants are ethically and morally acceptable
to the Vatican.

According to Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health
Faci- lities, No. 30: "The transplantation of organs from living
donors is morally permissible when the anticipated benefit to the
recipient is proportionate to the harm done to the donor, provided
that the loss of such organs) does not deprive the donor of life
itself nor of the functional integrity of his body." No. 31:
"Post-mortem examinations must not be begun until death is morally
certain. Vital organs, that is, organs necessary to sustain life,
may not be removed until death has taken place. The determination of
the time of death must be made in accordance with current medical
practice. To prevent any conflict of interest, the dying patient's
doctor or doctors should ordinarily be distinct from the transplant

Unitarian Universalist

Acceptable no restriction when the donor is not harmed, and when the
patient and his physician believe that this operation will be of
benefit to the patient, we affirm that guidance.

Acceptable. Again, when the patient and his physicians believe that
such operations will be of benefit to the patient, and when the
donor is not harmed, we affirm that guidance.

United Methodist Church

Transplantation:                     Donation:
Acceptable                            Acceptable

In 1984 the United Methodists adopted the following resolution:

Whereas, selfless consideration for the health and welfare of others is
at the heart of the Christian ethnic and

Whereas, organ and tissue donation is a life-giving act, since trans-
plantation of organs and tissues is scientifically proven to save the
lives of persons with terminal disease and improve the quality of life
for the blind, the deaf, and others with life-threatening diseases and

Whereas, organ donation may be perceived as a positive outcome of a
seemingly senseless death and is thereby comforting to the family of
the deceased and is conducted with respect, and with the highest consideration for maintaining the dignity of the deceased and hischer family; and

Whereas, moral leaders the world over recognize organ and tissue
donation as an expression of humanitarian ideals in giving life to
another; and

Whereas, thousands of persons who could benefit from organ and tis-
sue donation continue to suffer and die due to lack of consent for
donation, due primarily to poor awareness and lack of an official
direction from the church;

Be It Resolved, that the United Methodist Church recognizes the life-
giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages
all Christians to become organ and tissue donors by signing and carrying cards or driver's licenses, attesting to their commitment of such
organs upon their death to those in need, as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life that we might have life in its fullness.

Francesco Bollorino

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